May 23, 2009

Is it Wrong for Bloggers Accept Perks?

This isn't exactly related to my research question but nonetheless it's very interesting.

In the 'real world' perks are a part of everyday business, for example movie or restaurant reviewers are given perks all the time. There's a bit of a fuss when a doctor subscribes unproven medicine in order to garner gifts...but on the whole perks go largely unnoticed in day-to-day business.

But will the online community demand/reward a higher moral code?

We tend to trust that bloggers' are giving us their unadulterated opinion but it seems that this unbiased viewpoint is being challenged by corporates trying to swing the buzz in their favor e.g.
Moms get freebies to appraise

Is this OK, or is it threatening something that we all hold dear....the truth. I used ask500 to test the water on this (pie chart above) and the results were varied to say the least. One third of the 85 respondents wanted the gift or perk disclosed by the blogger while almost the same amount saw no problem with it....hmmm.

These the two comments that the ask500 poll got:

"Is it OK when your doctor receives cash bonuses and trips to Disneyworld in exchange for prescribing a new, poorly tested drug? principle, how would you feel?

If you are going to accept bribes, no matter what they are called, you should say so when blogging.

Bloggers are not news people. They like to SAY they are, but they are not. Anyone with a computer can be a blogger.

Even though the newspapers are disappearing, I think we'll still see people gravitate to those same newspaper's websites for their news. They've just got to keep promoting themselves as LEGITIMATE news sources to help people weed through the opinion-piece-without-evidence free-speech artists

I have to admit I was surprised by this...I had an inkling that the online community would demand more from bloggers'. In the past we've seen the online community force Kevin Rose (founder of Digg) to put his company in the firring line to uphold what the community saw as right. Perhaps there just hasn't been a catalyst for this backlash yet, or perhaps we don't actually see bloggers as impartial?

As more and more bloggers' are tempted to endorse products/services and as a result the integrity of blogs/bloggers' comes under scrutiny it wouldn't surprise me if a similar forceful demand is placed on bloggers' in the near future. Or then again may be no one cares that much?

It seems from both the votes and the comment above that regardless of how this issue evolves, transparency will be a crucial element in allowing bloggers' to continue accepting gifts.

It will certainly be interesting to see how it evolves.
Do you have an issue with bloggers' accepting gifts?


  1. Im ot sure if my last comment went through. I was just saying there's a PhD student in Malaysia studying this phenomenon (under Monash Uni), basing it on Msian bloggers, of course. Would be useful to get in touch with him if you'd like to know more - mention my name.

  2. Thanks Adele, will follow that up...hows your research going? we need to catch up :)